March 9, 2012

Bulldogs Open SoCon Play with 4-2 Win over Western Carolina

Charleston, S.C. – Joe Jackson knocked a pair of RBI base hits and Justin Mackert hit a two-run home run as The Citadel opened its Southern Conference schedule with a 4-2 victory over visiting Western Carolina Friday evening at Riley Park. Austin Pritcher tossed seven innings to improve to 2-1 on the season, while TJ Clarkson picked up his second save. The two teams meet for game two of the series Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.

The Citadel (7-6, 1-0 SoCon) opened the scoring with a three-run third inning to jump on Catamount starter Jordan Smith. With one out, Mason Davis doubled to right center and Joe Jackson followed with a RBI single up the middle to plate Davis. Jackson advanced to second on the play when Western Carolina center fielder Julian Ridings misplayed the rolling grounder. Nick Orvin flied out to center for the second out and Justin Mackert crushed a 2-2 pitch from Smith over the wall down the left-field line for his third round-tripper of the season and a 3-0 Bulldog lead.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 4-0 in the fourth. Bailey Rush reached on a fielder's choice to the pitcher and stole second. Rush advanced to third on a fly out to right by Calvin Orth and scored on a RBI double down the left-field line by Jackson, his second RBI base-hit of the game.

Western Carolina (10-4, 0-1 SoCon) got on the board with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Bulldogs' bullpen preserved the win. A pair of singles and a fielder's choice put runners at the corners with two outs for the Catamounts in the seventh, but Pritcher was called for a balk to bring home the runner from third. The Catamounts plated their second run in the eighth on a RBI groundout by Jacob Hoyle that scored Bryant Noteboom from third.

Pritcher scattered seven hits over seven innings, allowing both runs and striking out five. Clarkson gave up one hit over the final 1-2/3 innings, adding a strikeout to the mix with no walks. The Bulldogs collected nine hits on the evening, highlighted by Jackson's two-hit effort, but left 15 runners on base.

Western Carolina's Smith was touched for four runs on six hits in 4-2/3 innings for the loss, walking five and striking out seven.

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